Snow no barrier to live French link for Derby learners. Ydes en directe – c’est magnifique!

Ydes en directe  – Une bonne idée


Arriving at Ydes. Making the first short video

So! The idea was to set up a live link between my French Improvers evening class in Derby (UK) and the Cybercentre (Public computer access centre ) in the small town of Ydes in the French Massif Centrale.

This was small action research project with this question:

  • How can internet technologies be combined with good personal links in the target country to create an enhanced learning experience  and raise attainment in use of French.

All credit to Derby City Adult Learning Service language coordinator Jeannette Williamson who supported the idea right from the start.


And, it just couldn’t have happened without so many people supporting at the Derby end. Crucial to the whole deal was Christophe Ducouder , Christophe runs the Cybercentre. He has very helpful and sorted out a formal agreement with the Marie with a formal contract for use of the centre for three hours on the evening of Monday 21 January.


Christophe welcomes us to the Ydes Cybercentre

The students at the Derby entered into the spirit of this event and spent the previous week researching Ydes and then recording on video a number of questions for me to research during my visit.

So how did it work?

Well the students were all set to meet at the usual venue in derby and link through to Ydes with Skype! All fine except that 21st January was the day that England was snowed in and all classes were cancelled. The students forum  went ballistic – with all sorts of helpful solutions suggested. In the end nearly everyone logged in from home to the Moodle platform ( dead on  time at 19.00 GMT (20.00 French time) and after a short text exchange in French where everyone posted a greeting the lesson kicked off as planned with a series of pre-prepared videos which attempted to answer the questions  posed by students.

 Freezing night – but lots of of online communication

Phew! That forum was red hot – within the session 95 messages were posted- that’s one every minute and a half for two hours!   I happened to say to someone sitting near me at Ydes that the group was ‘Awesome’ and I remembered  that some students had been linked through in a Skype call for the whole  session! Ooops s what else had I said?



This was the rationale we set out for undertaking the project

Language teachers always strive to create an ‘authentic atmosphere’ in the class room and to use real and relevant materials (sometimes called ‘realia’) in addition to formal teaching materials.   This project came about through a desire to experiment with internet technologies  in order to explore ways of enabling students to have a heightened sense of connection with the culture and life of the country who’s language they are studying .

The videos are open to all

The videos made in Ydes are all now live on Youtube and available to watch (spot the deliberate mistake in the French)

Arrival at Ydes

Ydes main square

Bienvenu de Christophe

Memorial des mineurs

Pompidou at Ydes

Claudine et les pompes


3 Responses to “Snow no barrier to live French link for Derby learners. Ydes en directe – c’est magnifique!”

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  3. Unpicking the Online PODs | Stirring Learning Says:

    […] is not funded as a POD?  To give  a personal example I have delivered some really exciting live webinars from deep in the heart of France  to my French language students in Derby.   And even without such […]

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